El Puente/The Bridge

November 8, 2020

by Edgar Picazo Merino: Can survive on bean burritos

The life experiences of those who live on border regions are significantly affected by the ramifications that come with national boundaries. These dynamics appear to be exacerbated in the Ciudad Juárez and El Paso region: a metropolitan area with a population of over two million that has been a point of continuous tension on the sociopolitical landscapes of both México and the United States. A desert split by a river. A community divided by a wall. 

However, human nature is always finding ways to not only survive, but thrive. The same way we adjust to the extreme weather of our desert region, we adjust to the political climate that constantly and permanently throws curveballs at us. In the face of separation and exclusion, we build bridges.

These bridges, both physical and metaphorical, serve as the framework upon which our narrative is weaved. How do we, as a border community, fight for our humanity in our daily lives? What connections do we make between the varied and contrasting experiences of our region? What limits do we encounter and how do we deal with them? The answers to these questions are difficult to pinpoint and are not static. Nevertheless, the search of them is what sets the stage to the different artistic practices that are born on the border. 

Inspired by these premises, we developed the multidisciplinary, multigenerational, and multicultural performance “El Puente” (“The Bridge”). We invited a diverse group of experienced and admired performers from the region to come together and use their practices to explore the connection and separation that occurs in our community. Each performer draws from their personal and professional experience to create a dialogue—between themselves, their culture, and the audience—and to intimately tell their border story.

The performance is build around a sound piece inspired by the natural, mechanical, and human sounds of our border, which serves as both a background and connector for the spoken word, dance, musical, and acting pieces that are part of “El Puente.”

“El Puente” is produced by Amalia Mondragón and Edgar Picazo. The sound design is by David Delgado and Julio Mena, and the performers are Nancy Green, Telón de Arena, James Magee, Tereso Contreras, Jennifer Burton, and Cassandro el Exótico.